By Ashly Moore Sheldon • January 10, 2022
Season two of "The Witcher" series was recently released on Netflix. The hit show is based on the wildly popular books by Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski, which have developed a cult following throughout Central and Eastern Europe. The mania has spawned movies, television series, and video games, with the Netflix series, starring Henry Cavill, inviting new audiences into this elaborate fantastical world. Here's a guide for diving into the source material, as well as recommendations for similar reads.
The dark, atmospheric series depicts a complex, relatable world where the lines between good and evil aren't always clear. The story centers on Geralt, the eponymous Witcher, an individual who, at a young age, develops supernatural abilities to battle monsters. Once identified, Witchers are trained to hunt and kill dangerous supernatural creatures. Yet they often confront fear and bigotry from those they are trying to protect.
As with some other series, the publishing order isn't necessarily the best order for reading. Sapkowski's first two publications are short story collections that introduce Geralt and the world he lives in.
From here, it makes sense to read the subsequent novels in the order of publication.
A recent publication, Season of Storms takes place during the same time period of The Last Wish. This book is not really essential to any of the main storylines, but if you're a completionist, you may want to go ahead and queue it up. There is also a graphic novel by Paul Tobin that has been very well received by fans.
Designed for fans of the video games, The World of the Witcher offers a beautifully illustrated compendium of information about the series, but be warned: it does contain spoilers.
If you're already a fan of The Witcher and anxiously awaiting the next installment, here are some similar reads to consider in the meantime.
The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
Volume one of The Kingkiller Chronicle is a story-within-a-story introducing a rural innkeeper telling of the adventures of his notorious past as a wandering musician-turned-wizard.
Markswoman by Rati Mehrota
An order of magical-knife wielding female assassins brings both peace and chaos to a post-apocalyptic world in this debut duology that displays the inventiveness of the works of Sarah Beth Durst and Marie Lu.
The Blade Itself by Joe Abercrombie
Set in an epic fantasy world reminiscent of medieval Europe, the first volume of The First Law series centers on Logen Ninefingers, a barbarian who becomes drawn into a bloody conspiracy as war looms on the horizon.
The Rage of Dragons by Evan Winters
In book one of The Burning series, one young man dedicates himself to the seemingly impossible task of avenging the brutal murders of those closest to him. In the process, he becomes the only hope of a nation.
Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones
Book one in a new YA series, this is the story of Liesl, a talented musician and composer, who journeys to the underground to confront the beautiful, dangerous Goblin King after he kidnaps her sister.
The Last Kingdom by Bernard Cornwell
Set in wartorn medieval England, this fantasy series follows the trials and tribulations of a Saxon warrior as he attempts to both reclaim his lands and gain revenge on those who killed his family.
A Time of Dread by John Gwynne
In book one of the Of Blood and Bone series, amidst a seemingly endless war between angels and demons, a disparate group of humans find themselves caught up in the fight. Each must determine where their loyalties lie.
If you're one of the legions of fans waiting (impatiently) for another season of The Witcher, hopefully there's something here for you.